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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Build your own Circle Time Stand

When I host birthday parties and special events, I usually sing songs and do some fingerplays. Most parents aren't always familiar with fingerplays so I usually write them on a white board or chalk board so they can cheat. I thought it would be nice if my cheat sheet sat right next to me. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a stand I was happy with. I visited my local teacher store to specifically find a suitable stand. One of the sales ladies suggested I create something of my own out of PVC pipe. "I dunno," I told her. She assured me it was possible and I left empty handed. It took me another two months before I decided It had to be done.

My husband and I stood in the PVC aisle of Home Depot for almost an hour putting pieces together until we finally constructed what I wanted. It took some cutting from one of their employees (who was less than happy with my determination to get it just so) before I thought it was perfect.

The PVC websites I visited suggested you get all the words and letters off before painting or they will show up. I used sandpaper, I wasn't happy with the results. I suggest trying the acetone instead. Or, painting over the letters and barcodes with Kilz. I didn't get all of the words and letters off and yes, they did show up through the paint.

Here's what it looked like before adding the paint.

See here how the barcode started to show through during the painting process.

Here what it looked like right after the paint.

Here are some of the websites I visited before beginning my project. Warning, there is some really cool creations out there!

Happy Building,

Need cubbies for your classroom? Build your own. See my cubbies here.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Side of Rice

I love to spice up my sensory table with more than just sand and water. Last week rice was on sale at Publix and I grabbed two bags for home and one bag for school. Our theme this week is Spring so I dyed the rice pastel colors. To compliment my Spring theme I may add plastic eggs to fill, pastel cups, and bunnies. Here's how you can make your own colored rice.

To make colored rice you’ll need
*1/4 cup of vinegar
*a bowl
*shallow pan or container
*food coloring
*a spoon or a glove on one hand

Pour the rice in the bowl. Add a few drops of food coloring to your 1/4 cup of vinegar, pour in your rices and stir well. I like to mix with my hand, it seems to faster and the color seems richer. You’ll probably want to use gloves so your hand isn’t blue for the rest of the day, or shaking in a ziploc bag will work too. Pour the rice in a shallow container. Sit the rice aside until dry.

Don’t forget to add measuring cups, spoons, and dishes for your kids to dig, and discover.

Go ahead and have a side a rice today.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Preschool Children and Chores

Each child in my class has a daily chore. We keep a chore chart and it tells us what our job for the day is. We rotate the names each day so every person has a chance to do every job. The chores give the children a sense of responsibility and ownership of our class. It's a fabulous sight for everyone to be working together simultaneously for the same purpose. I usually praise their efforts and tell them how wonderful the classroom looks after we've all clean up. The children take their chores seriously and will remind me if we have not changed our chart first thing in the morning. You can purchase basic chore charts or make your own customized one. I have used both with great results.

Just like at school my children at home have their own list of daily chores. My daughter had a friend visiting our house. My girls were all in the kitchen doing dishes. Their friend asked surprisingly, "You do dishes?" My daughter asked, "Don't you have chores at home?" The little girl unsure of what to say clearly watching my daughters expression sheepishly said, "No". My daughter then asked, "Then how will you ever learn how to clean your house?!"

Monday, March 8, 2010

Centers and Circle Time meet Jack Hartmann

If there is one thing I love in my classroom (besides the students of course) it's MUSIC! I love to sing and dance while creating a masterpiece, molding playdoh, and especially during circle time. Recently, my daughters school invited Jack Hartmann to perform. I sent him a message on Facebook letting him know he had a 1st grade friend in the audience. Of course to her I looked especially cool having access to Jack Hartmann on Facebook. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the performance. But, I was smart enough to sneak in afterwards to purchase a couple of CD's, get them autographed and take a picture with Mr. Hartmann. So thanks to Jack and our school "I got music in me."